OTD in 1973, North Carolina native Jim Bibby throws a no-hitter against the Oakland A’s. The Texas Rangers rookie became the 14th player to throw a no-hitter during their rookie season. The no-hitter was also the first in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise. The game on July 30, 1973 in Oakland Coliseum featured a matchup of the Rangers with rookie pitcher Jim Bibby versus the dynasty-in-making Oakland A’s with their star pitcher Vida Blue. The 1973 A’s would go on to win the World Series and pitcher Blue would win 20 games for Oakland… but no win for Oakland this day. Bibby entered the game on a hot streak, pitching 3 complete games in his 4 prior starts, striking out 36 in 33 innings. The Rangers jumped to a 5-0 lead after the 1st and Bibby did the rest, striking out 13 A’s and giving up no hits — leading Texas to a 6-0 win over the 1st place A’s. In 1981, as a member of the Pirates, Bibby missed a perfect game by 1 hit. Against the Braves in ’81, Bibby gave up a leadoff hit to Terry Harper before retiring the next 27 batters.
Bibby was born in Franklinton, NC (just north of Raleigh) in 1944. Bibby tried out for the New York Mets in 1965 and was offered a contract with the Mets’ Rookie League team in Marion, VA. Another pitcher was teammates with Bibby on the ’65 Marion Mets, an 18-year old Texas kid named Nolan Ryan. After his first year in the Mets organization, the US Army drafted Jim into the Vietnam War. After leaving the Army in 1968, Bibby returned to the Mets and was assigned to their Class-A affiliate, the Raleigh-Durham Mets of the Carolina League. Bibby spent the ’68 season with Raleigh-Durham pitching in 23 games (19 starts) going 7-7 with a 2.82 ERA and striking out 118 in 131 innings pitched. While pitching with the Pirates in 1979, Bibby went 12-4 and posted a 2.81 ERA as his Pirates won the NL pennant and defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. He would follow up that season with a career performance in 1980, winning 19 and being selected to his only All-Star Game.
In 1984, Bibby retired as a pitcher and became a coach for the Durham Bulls the same season. He finished his MLB career with 111 wins and a 3.71 ERA. In 2010, Jim passed away after a battle with bone cancer.
Box score of Bibby’s 1972 No-Hitter: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK197307300.shtml